What kind of professional services and IPv6 support should service providers typically offer their enterprise customers in order to transition to IPv6?
IPv6 touches every aspect of IT, from infrastructure and applications to operations and governance. The IPv6 transition involves a wide range of technologies, processes and people, yet most enterprises are only now beginning to understand the scope of this effort. They will look for strategic, trusted advisors who will help them minimize the risks of the transition while maximizing the benefits. Enterprises will need help learning about IPv6 and preparing their operations for it. They will need professional IPv6 support services to help them plan and execute the transition. Case studies and lessons learned will be in high demand as the transition accelerates.
With a complete portfolio of IPv6 support services that include IPv6 education, IPv6 consulting and managed services, service providers have a unique opportunity to cement their relationship with enterprise customers and differentiate in the market. The IPv6 readiness of existing and planned services should be considered table stakes going forward. Service provider services are critical to many aspects of the enterprise IT operations, so any IPv6 transition will be gated by the service provider's readiness.
The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) accurately predicted the time frame for the IPv4 address space exhaustion. The IETF developed the next-generation Internet Protocol -- IPv6 -- early enough to give IT organizations plenty of time to prepare for and execute a smooth, effective transition. Unfortunately, most IT organizations delayed investments in IPv6 thus adding a Y2K-like anxiety to the transition process. To avoid knee-jerk reactions and poor business decisions, this anxiety that must be met with clear, well documented information. Moreover, demand for assistance is likely to take the shape of a step function, so service providers must be prepared to address it.
Service providers will have to demonstrate that they are genuinely ready for this transition and are capable of guiding their enterprise customers. Claiming IPv6 readiness when account managers have no clue what IPv6 is will not take a service provider far in instilling confidence in their enterprise customers. IPv6 transition will bring forth significant business opportunity for those prepared for it and equally significant risk for those who are not prepared.
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